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  #1  
Old 03-06-2021, 03:43 PM
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Royatl Royatl is offline
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Default RIP Ken Montanye -- the Rocket Doctor

So I've confirmed that Ken Montanye passed away after a long illness on January 17. Don't have much else to report. His sister Charlene handled the arrangements, and his long-time companion Vicky Peine has a Facebook page, but neither mention Ken's passing in public posts.

(Jeff Jenkins got a different date from speaking with Vicky. I’ve updated it above. )
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Last edited by Royatl : 03-08-2021 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 03-06-2021, 04:45 PM
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I bought a few items from Ken over the years and he seemed like a really nice guy. I had the impression he was downsizing due to health concerns.
There is a short video of him talking about the resources of the local library:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.no...m/amp/319713002

Last edited by 5x7 : 03-06-2021 at 06:08 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2021, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5x7
I bought a few items from Ken over the years and he seemed like a really nice guy. I had the impression he was downsizing due to health concerns.
There is a short video of him talking about the resources of the local library:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.no...m/amp/319713002



Sad news. I bought a few things from him years ago - some Kruger kits and parts, an Alpha-1 Ballistic Missile set ( Pic attached ) and a few others. Also met him at NARAM 50, talked with him while prepping my 'Sky of Gold' Scout. For those who don't know, Ken, along with Carl, was behind the Sky of Gold celebration. Seemed like a really nice guy.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:45 PM
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Earl Earl is offline
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Yes, it is sad news and sorry we did not know sooner. I too picked up a few things from Ken some years back — probably about 10 years ago I guess— and my experience was the same. Very nice guy and very helpful.

As I seem to recall about that time, he was doing some research on an old (I think) Rection Motors, Inc. plant in the northeast somewhere. They made the motors for the X-15 rocket plane and Ken was trying to hunt down additional info and maybe even physical research at a former plant site, though I am not certain on that part.

Peace and rest to you Ken; May you be experiencing life and views beyond anything we can imagine or comprehend in this life.

Earl
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  #5  
Old 03-07-2021, 12:22 AM
Faithwalker Faithwalker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl
Yes, it is sad news and sorry we did not know sooner. I too picked up a few things from Ken some years back — probably about 10 years ago I guess— and my experience was the same. Very nice guy and very helpful.

As I seem to recall about that time, he was doing some research on an old (I think) Rection Motors, Inc. plant in the northeast somewhere. They made the motors for the X-15 rocket plane and Ken was trying to hunt down additional info and maybe even physical research at a former plant site, though I am not certain on that part.

Peace and rest to you Ken; May you be experiencing life and views beyond anything we can imagine or comprehend in this life.

Earl

Yes, very sad news indeed. Ken will be missed. I also had dealings with Ken Montanye. He was a very helpful and knowledgeable individual, who selflessly volunteered much of his time towards the preservation of history, including Rocketry and Model Rocket history. Ken contributed several Estes kit designs, including Baby Bertha, Converter, Deluxe Super Shot, Screaming MiMi, Estes No 2 Skywriter and the 36 D Squared. Ken worked tirelessly every month at the Butler, NJ History Museum. Ken had a vision of a permanent Model Rocketry History Museum exhibit, prior to the establishment of the Seattle Museum of Flight Model Rocketry exhibits and accessions.

Ken also was an expert on the history of Reaction Motors, Inc., the first successful American rocket company, founded December 18, 1941, within just two weeks from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the event which thrust the United States into WWII. Ken collaborated with author Frank H. Winter, famed curator of the NASM in Washington, D.C., to help provide artifacts and details for the book entitled, "America's First Rocket Company: Reaction Motors, Inc.", published in 2017. The book is still available: https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Fir...n/dp/162410441X

Reaction Motors, Inc. went on to accomplish some of the most significant technological breakthroughs in American Aerospace history, paving the way to manned flights far beyond the speed of sound, the beginnings of manned flight into space, and development of the critically important vernier motors for the Surveyor spacecraft that became the first U.S. soft-landing craft on the surface of the moon. Ken had the only known remaining brick from the original Reaction Motors, Inc. test facility control room blockhouse in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Ken sent me this Models in Motion video that his 4-H Model Rocket club did back in 1972 for the Hobby Industry Of America. According to Ken, the video was shown on TV four times and received a bronze award in competition featuring Model Rocketry:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOqleJOZ_Ww
Ken can be seen in the video with blonde hair and wearing a green 4-H shirt launching model rockets. Ken Montanye was NAR #9803 SR.

May Ken Montanye rest in peace.

Kind regards,
Jeff Jenkins
aka: Faithwalker
NAR #46879 SR

Last edited by Faithwalker : 03-07-2021 at 01:29 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2021, 01:29 AM
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Royatl Royatl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faithwalker

Ken sent me this Models in Motion video that his 4-H Model Rocket club did back in 1972 for the Hobby Industry Of America. According to Ken, the video was shown on TV four times and received a bronze award in competition featuring Model Rocketry:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOqleJOZ_Ww
Ken can be seen in the video with blonde hair and wearing a green 4H shirt launching model rockets. Ken Montanye was NAR #9803 SR.


Cool video. Thanks for pointing it out!
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Old 03-21-2021, 11:04 PM
Faithwalker Faithwalker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faithwalker
Ken also was an expert on the history of Reaction Motors, Inc., the first successful American rocket company, founded December 18, 1941, within just two weeks from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the event which thrust the United States into WWII. Ken collaborated with author Frank H. Winter, famed curator of the NASM in Washington, D.C., to help provide artifacts and details for the book entitled, "America's First Rocket Company: Reaction Motors, Inc.", published in 2017. The book is still available: https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Fir...n/dp/162410441X

Reaction Motors, Inc. went on to accomplish some of the most significant technological breakthroughs in American Aerospace history, paving the way to manned flights far beyond the speed of sound, the beginnings of manned flight into space, and development of the critically important vernier motors for the Surveyor spacecraft that became the first U.S. soft-landing craft on the surface of the moon. Ken had the only known remaining brick from the original Reaction Motors, Inc. test facility control room blockhouse in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Ken Montanye's LinkedIn page lists him, among other things, as an Independent Historian/Researcher for 51 years, from Jan. 1970 to Jan. 2021, of Reaction Motors Inc., "America's First Liquid Fueled Rocket Engine Company". They were the designers, developers and testers of the XLR ( Bell X-1 and the XLR-99, X-15 ) engines among others. Reaction Motors was the first to develop the regeneratively cooled rocket engine in Pompton Lakes, NJ.

Kind regards,
Jeff Jenkins
aka: Faithwalker
NAR #46879 SR
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2021, 10:51 AM
Faithwalker Faithwalker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royatl
So I've confirmed that Ken Montanye passed away after a long illness on January 17. Don't have much else to report. His sister Charlene handled the arrangements, and his long-time companion Vicky Peine has a Facebook page, but neither mention Ken's passing in public posts.

(Jeff Jenkins got a different date from speaking with Vicky. I’ve updated it above. )

As Roy noted, I was able to speak directly with Ken's long-time companion friend, Vicki Peine, today. Vicki confirmed that Ken Montanye died on Sunday, January 17, 2021. Vicki said that Ken had developed several health issues beginning in August 2020 and he continued to get worse. She said that Ken was moved to a care facility, but he continued to lose weight and he suffered from a number of things, including kidney and heart problems. Ken's final wishes were to be cremated. There was no funeral or memorial service. The family has been very quiet about his passing. Even the Butler Museum where Ken worked for such a long time did not know of his passing until much later afterwards. It is sad to see someone go like this.

Vicki did express her appreciation for all the kind words and sentiments expressed on here from the Model Rocket community in remembrance of Ken Montanye. If I find out more, I will attempt to provide an update.

Ken Montanye was 68 years old. His birthday was August 12, 1952.

Kind regards,
Jeff Jenkins
aka: Faithwalker
NAR #46879 SR
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2021, 11:04 AM
TigerHawk TigerHawk is offline
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As MarkB posted a week or so ago, if we get a chance to launch on April 3 (4,3,2,1) maybe we could launch a rocket or two in remembrance of Ken Montanye ?
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2021, 11:05 AM
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Earl Earl is offline
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Thanks for that update. He was three days shy of being exactly a decade older than me.

Yes, sorry the family has been so quiet about his passing, but I guess they are allowed 'their ways' when it comes to something like this. But sad still.

Earl
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